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PHCC may add more four-year programs

Another school is nearing an agreement with Pasco-Hernando Community College to offer four-year degree programs in Pasco County.

Nova Southeastern University, which is based in Fort Lauderdale and offers classes via the Internet and at sites across the state and internationally, could begin offering classes in January at PHCC's campus on Ridge Road in New Port Richey.

Nova would offer up to three degrees: exceptional child education (special education), business administration and psychology, said Paul Szuch, PHCC's vice president of educational services.

"Those are the areas we've identified as areas of student demand," said Szuch, who received his doctorate in higher education from Nova.

Nova officials will make a final decision this summer about the school's offerings, Szuch said. If Nova decides to go ahead, the school will hold informational sessions at PHCC in September.

"It's in the initial stages of discussion," said Nova spokesman Dennis Donnacher. "Hopefully we'll get this relationship established and start (classes) on their campus in January."

Before reaching a final decision, Donnacher said Nova needs to determine whether New Port Richey is far enough from its Tampa center to warrant offering satellite classes. Then it needs to gauge student interest.

If it opts to offer all three programs, that would raise the number of four-year degrees available on PHCC's west campus to seven.

Just last week PHCC confirmed that faculty from University of South Florida's St. Petersburg campus and from International College of Naples will offer four-year degree programs in elementary education and management, respectively, starting this fall.

Faculty from the University of South Florida's Tampa campus have been offering four-year degrees on PHCC's New Port Richey campus for three years. They currently offer bachelor's in nursing and interdisciplinary social sciences.

All students with associate in arts degrees would be eligible for the Nova program. The university needs to determine which associate in science degrees, two-year degrees geared toward entering the work force, would allow students to enter its programs.

The students would go through the Nova programs in clusters, starting at the same time and taking the same classes each semester, Donnacher said.

_ Ryan Davis covers higher education and social services in Pasco. He can be reached at (800) 333-7505 ext. 3452.

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